In 2000, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra launched the first of its seven-year godchild projects. All the babies born in Helsinki that year received an invitation to register as a godchild. About 75% of the families accepted the invitation.
As soon as the baby’s birth was registered, the family was sent a “Teddy Goes to a Concert” CD made in partnership with Ondine. Thereafter, for the next seven years, the godchildren received two invitations a year – in spring and autumn – to concerts specifically designed according to the musical development of children of their age. At the concerts, the children were introduced to classical music performed by different ensembles. In the early years, the concerts were presented by Eve Alho, and from 2002 onwards by Satu Sopanen.
The godchild project is one of the most extensive outreach projects ever carried out in Finland. It appeared from a study made by Petra Piiroinen of the first godchild project that half the children involved have listened to classical music in later years and one third go to live concerts once a month or more often. 71.4% reckoned that the project got them interested in classical music.
Sources: HPO website & Petra Piiroinen - ”Varmasti vaikuttaa koko loppuelämän” Osallistujien kokemuksia Helsingin kaupunginorkesterin kummilapset 2000–2007 -yleisötyöprojektista